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KNIGHT, RICHARD PAYNE. A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus, and its Connection with the Mystic Theology of the Ancients ...

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KNIGHT, RICHARD PAYNE. A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus, and its Connection with the Mystic Theology of the Ancients ...

60.00

... (A New Edition), to which is added An Essay on the Worship of the Generative Powers During the Middle Ages of Western Europe, by Thomas Wright

Secaucus, NJ: University Books, 1974. 

Reprint. Hardcover. 4to. Maroon cloth over red paper covered boards with gilt title and device to front. Gilt titles to decorative spine. 254 pages plus 40 pages of black and white illustrations at end of volume.

A tiny bit of corner wear, otherwise a near fine copy (issued without dust jacket). 

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This work, which was Knight’s first book (first published in 1786) sought to recover the importance of ancient phallic cults. Knight's apparent preference for ancient sacred eroticism over Judeo-Christian puritanism led to many attacks on him as an infidel and as a scholarly apologist for libertinism. This ensured the persistent distrust of the religious establishment. The central claim of The Worship of Priapus was that an international religious impulse to worship 'the generative principle' was articulated through genital imagery, and that this imagery has persisted into the modern age. In some ways the book was the first of many later attempts to argue that pagan ideas had persisted within Christian culture, a view that would eventually crystallize into the neo-pagan movement over a century later. The second work included in this volume (Worship of the Generative Powers) is along the same lines but specific to the middle ages in western Europe. This was written by Thomas Wright.